This new edition of William James’s 1909 classic, A Pluralistic Universe reproduces the original text, only modernizing the spelling. The books has been annotated throughout to clarify James’s points of reference and discussion. There is a new, fuller index, a brief chronology of James’s life, and a new bibliography—chiefly based on James’s own references. The editor, H.G. Callaway, has included a new Introduction which elucidates the legacy of Jamesian pluralism to survey some related questions of contemporary (...) American society. -/- A Pluralistic Universe was the last major book James published during his life time. It is a substantial philosophical work, devoted to a thorough-going criticism of Hegelian monism and Absolutism—and the exploration of philosophical and social-theological alternatives. Our world of some one hundred years on is much the better for James’s contributions; and understanding James’s pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding. At present, we are more certain that American is, and is best, a pluralistic society, than we are of what particular forms our pluralism should take. Keeping an eye out for social interpretations of Jamesian pluralism, this new philosophical reading casts light on our twenty-first century alternatives by reference to prior American experience and developments. -/- . (shrink)
In his introduction to this collection, John representative. McDermott presents James's thinking in all its manifestations, stressing the importance of radical empiricism and placing into perspective the doctrines of pragmatism and the will to believe. The critical periods of James's life are highlighted to illuminate the development of his philosophical and psychological thought. The anthology features representive selections from The Principles of Psychology, The Will to Believe , and The Variety of Religious Experience in addition to the complete (...) Essays in Radical Empiricism and A Pluralistic Universe . The original 1907 edition of Pragmatism is included, as well as classic selections from all of James's other major works. Of particular significance for James scholarship is the supplemented version of Ralph Barton Perry's Annotated Bibliography of the Writings of William James , with additions bringing it up to 1976. (shrink)
Does Spinoza present philosophy as the preserve of an elite, while condemning the uneducated to a false though palliative form of ‘true religion’? Some commentators have thought so, but this contribution aims to show that they are mistaken. The form of religious life that Spinoza recommends creates the political and epistemological conditions for a gradual transition to philosophical understanding, so that true religion and philosophy are in practice inseparable.
What is philosophy? What is metaphor? Could thinking take place metaphorically? If one follows the mainstream Western definition of philosophy, the answer to the latter question would certainly be negative. Metaphors are perceived as primitive, pre-analytical, and imprecise—thus pre-philosophical! Drawing on multiple cross-cultural resources, Metaphor and Metaphilosophy: Philosophy as Combat, Play, and Aesthetic Experience by Sarah A. Mattice insightfully challenges this widespread assumption in the current...
In 1907 William James was invited to give the Hibbert Lectures at Manchester College, Oxford. Initially he was reluctant to do so since he feared undertaking them would divert him from developing rigorously and systematically some metaphysical ideas of his own that had preoccupied him for some time. In the end, however, he relented and in the spring of 1908 gave the lectures which were subsequently published as A Pluralistic Universe. As it happened, though, in the course of these (...) lectures James presented some of those metaphysical ideas, though in a popular and informal style appropriate to lecturing. Later on he did get down to working out a systematic metaphysics in proper academic style, but the project was cut short by his untimely death in 1910. The incomplete Some Problems of Philosophy, posthumously published in 1911, recapitulates some major themes of A Pluralistic Universe. (shrink)
William James’ Principles of Psychology, in which he made famous the ‘specious present’ doctrine of temporal experience, and Edmund Husserl’s Zur Phänomenologie des inneren Zeitbewusstseins, were giant strides in the philosophical investigation of the temporality of experience. However, an important set of precursors to these works has not been adequately investigated. In this article, we undertake this investigation. Beginning with Reid’s essay ‘Memory’ in Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man, we trace out a line of development of ideas (...) about the temporality of experience that runs through Dugald Stewart, Thomas Brown, William Hamilton, and finally the work of Shadworth Hodgson and Robert Kelly, both of whom were immediate influences on James (though James pseudonymously cites the latter as ‘E.R. Clay’). Furthermore, we argue that Hodgson, especially his Metaphysic of Experience (1898), was a significant influence on Husserl. (shrink)
William James' Radical Empiricist essays offer a unique and powerful argument for direct realism about our perceptions of objects. This theory can be completed with some observations by Kant on the intellectual preconditions for a perceptual judgment. Finally James and Kant deliver a powerful blow to the representational theory of perception and knowledge, which applies quite broadly to theories of representation generally.
This paper examines the concept of liberty at the heart of Sarah Chapone’s 1735 work, The Hardships of the English Laws in Relation to Wives. In this work, Chapone (1699-1764) advocates an ideal of freedom from domination that closely resembles the republican ideal in seventeenth and eighteenth- century England. This is the idea that an agent is free provided that no-one else has the power to dispose of that agent’s property—her “life, liberty, and limb” and her material possessions—according to (...) his arbitrary will and pleasure, without being accountable to the law. This paper shows how Chapone uses this ideal to ground her arguments against those laws that put married women in a worse condition than slavery, and to call for the establishment of reasonable and just safeguards for a woman’s personal property and property in her children. More than this, it is argued, in this text Chapone articulates a feminist ideal that is both negative freedom from domination and positive freedom to be one’s own master or arbiter. Her work thus occupies a unique—and hitherto unrecognized—place in the history of feminist philosophy. (shrink)
I am grateful that someone whose work I greatly admire could be the philosopher to so eloquently and succinctly cut to the heart of the problem that I posed in the previous issue of Deleuze Studies. James Williams' critical reply leaves me, prima facie, confronted by a stark alternative: either I have misunderstood Deleuze, or I have illustrated problems and lacunae in Deleuze. I will suggest, however, that this is a false alternative, and that Williams' and my divergent accounts (...) of The Logic of Sense – and even Deleuze's oeuvre as a whole – is better understood as a situation of ‘both/and’ rather than ‘either/or’, and hence that my interpretation of Deleuze isn't wrong, but necessarily iconoclastic. (shrink)
This response offers an interpretation of James Gustafson's “Participation: A Religious Worldview,” which thinks with Gustafson on the theme of “participation,” while highlighting points where my own thoughts diverge from his. The essay begins by drawing the reader's attention to Gustafson's style, arguing that the simple elegance of his writing constitutes part of his larger claim about the need to remove ourselves from the center of our thought. Next, the essay analyzes Gustafson's use of “participation” by putting it in (...) context and connecting it with his broader methodology. Finally, I draw the reader's attention to important loci in the text in order to show how Gustafson's essay helps address various extant misinterpretations of his thought but also to point to ways in which my “thinking with” Gustafson leads me to think otherwise than he does. (shrink)
William James makes several major claims about truth: (i) truth means agreement with reality independently of the knower, (ii) truth is made by human beings, (iii) truth can be verified, and (iv) truth is necessarily good. These claims give rise to a few puzzles: (i) and (ii) seem to contradict each other, and each of (ii), (iii), and (iv) has counter-intuitive implications. I argue that Richard Gale's interpretation of James' theory of truth is inadequate in dealing with these (...) puzzles. I propose an alternative interpretation and show how it can solve these puzzles. (shrink)
Translating Chinese Classics in a Colonial Context: James Legge and His Two Versions of the Zhongyong, by Hui Wang, Peter Lang Content Type Journal Article Pages 166-167 Authors Paul Boshears, Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien/The European Graduate School Journal Comparative and Continental Philosophy Online ISSN 1757-0646 Print ISSN 1757-0638 Journal Volume Volume 4 Journal Issue Volume 4, Number 1 / 2012.
With this book, Jacques Barzun pays what he describes as an "intellectual debt" to William James—psychologist, philosopher, and, for Barzun, guide and mentor. Commenting on James's life, thought, and legacy, Barzun leaves us with a wise and civilized distillation of the great thinker's work.
Academic popularizers of the new field of evolutionary psychology make notable appeals to William James to bolster their doctrine. In particular, they cite James’ remark that humans have all the “impulses” animals do and many more besides to shore up their claim that people’s “instincts” account for their flexibility. This essay argues that these scholars misinterpret James on the instincts. Consciousness (which they find inscrutable) explains cognitive flexibility for James. The evolutionary psychologists’ appeal to James (...) is, therefore, unwarranted and, given the conditions relevant to the public and professional audiences they address, also ineffective as a rhetorical tool for enlisting new recruits. (shrink)
William James's Varieties of Religious Experience is a classic psycho-philosophical study of the experience of the sacred and of its practical effects on the ordinary life of extraordinary persons. In a pragmatic variation of Kant's proof of god's existence, James uses personal accounts of converts to empirically demonstrate that there's “something” that has causal effects on the well-being of the person. While the article is largely sympathetic to James explorations of the mystical, it offers a sociological variation (...) on the Varieties that foregrounds the social, cultural and political aspects of religion. (shrink)
Although the Cambridge Professor of Mental Philosophy and Logic James Ward was once one of Britain's most highly regarded Psychologists and Philosophers, today his work is unjustly neglected. This is because his philosophy is frequently misrepresented as a reactionary anti-naturalistic idealist theism. In this article, I argue, first, that this reading is false, and that by viewing Ward through the lens of pragmatism we obtain a fresh interpretation of his work that highlights the scientific nature of his philosophy and (...) his original and promising theory of ‘evolutionary Kantianism’, with its applications to the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and metaphysics. Second, I show that reading Ward as a pragmatist provides us with (1) a more complex history of the reception of pragmatism at Cambridge at the turn of the twentieth century than the straightforwardly hostile one traditionally told; and (2) a more detailed understanding of the wide range of philosophical problems to which pragmatism was deemed at this time to have an appropriate application. (shrink)
William James’ declared intention is to oppose Clifford’s claim that it “is wrong always, everywhere, and for every one, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence”. But I argue that he is confused about his doxastic prescriptions. He isn’t primarily concerned, as he thinks he is, with the legitimacy of belief in the absence of sufficient evidence. The most important contribution of his essay is a suggestion - a highly insightful and contentious one - as to what it is to (...) believe in accordance with the evidence. (shrink)
As suggested in the subtitle, A New Philosophical Reading, the editor aspires in his Introduction and his notes to “facilitate a deeper understanding and a critical evaluation (...) of this crucial and difficult philosophical work” (p. ix). This was the last important book which James published during his lifetime. With it James aims at a critical evaluation of Hegelian monism and an exploration of the philosophical and theological alternatives. “Our world of some one hundred years on”—the editor says (...) (p. ix)—“is much the better for James’ contribution, and understanding William James on pluralism deeply contributes even now to America’s self-understanding.”. (shrink)
El artículo constituye una breve investigación histórica y teórica en torno a los principales nexos entre el pensamiento temprano de William James y el trabajo desplegado por Edmund Husserl en las Investigaciones lógicas. A través de un examen preliminar de las relaciones personales entre ambos autores, pasaremos a un estudio sobre el aparato conceptual desarrollado por James, sobre todo en Principios de psicología, con el objetivo de contrastarlo con el planteado por Husserl, mostrando cómo el primer autor esbozó, (...) entre otros, los conceptos fenomenológicos de intencionalidad y objetividad ideal. (shrink)
William James undertook to steer his way between a rationalistic system that was not empirical enough and an empirical system so materialistic that it could not account for the value commitments on which it rested. In arguing against both the absolutists (gnostics) and the empiricists (agnostics), he defined a position of pluralistic moralism that seemed equally distant from both, leaving himself vulnerable to the criticism that he had rescued morality from scientism only by reducing religion to morals. Such criticism, (...) however, ignores distinctions James made between religion and theology and between monistic theology and dualistic theology. When these distinctions are taken into account, it becomes evident that James can be criticized for reducing religion to morality only from the point of view of either absolute monism or religious humanism and that radical empiricism not only embraces a significant number of nonmoral religious experiences but also leaves open the possibility of belief in the particular historical God of traditional Christianity. (shrink)
"Space," William James confessed, "is [both] a direfully difficult subject [and the] driest of subjects.'" Nonetheless, convinced that most previous accounts of space were either incoherent or mythological, he set out to describe space as it is actually experienced. His first effort, "The Spatial Quale," appeared in The Journal of Speculative Philosophy in 1879. 2 This article is historically important; as Ralph Barton Perry notes, "his peculiar view of the amplitude and eonnectedness of experience seems to have begun with (...) the application to space. ''3 But, despite this fact, it is seldom read today. It was not reprinted in James's Collected Essays and Reviews because the editor found "no important difference" between the content of this article and that of the chapter in The Principles of Psychology dealing with the same topic. 4 And it has not been included in more recent anthologies of James's writings. James would undoubtedly have concurred with the reasoning behind these editorial decisions. In the preface to the Psychology he wrote: Chapter 20, on Space-perception, is a terrible thing, which, unless written with all that detail, could not be fairly treated at all. An abridgment of it, called The Spatial Quale' ... may be found by some persons a useful substitute for the entire chapter? In fact, however, there is a significant philosophical difference between... (shrink)
A Pluralistic Universe is America's favourite philosopher's last complete work before he died in 1910. Nevertheless, it has been somewhat neglected as a final self-reckoning. Indeed the term "pragmatism" occurs pretty rarely in it, while "experience" and "pluralism" abound. As introduced and annotated by H.G. Callaway, the Cambridge Scholars edition offers some valuable background on James and the text itself, particularly for the nonspecialist reader. Besides retaining James's notes, Callaway has also provided his own glosses on important philosophical (...) terms, translations of the foreign phrases James so often fell back on, and an expanded index and new bibliography to the text. It is, as Callaway says, a "reading and study edition" (ix). (shrink)
This book is my new scholarly edition of William James, A Pluralistic Universe. The original text has been recovered, annotations to the text added to identify James' authors and events of interest, there is a new bibliography chiefly based on James' sources, a brief chronology of James' career, and I have added an expository and critical Introduction and a comprehensive analytical index.
Conclusion: "For Bergson, it will be remembered, there is a conclusion,...The conquest of death is implied metaphysically, not to be verified experimentally. Man is born at home in the world, a microcosm essentially at one with it. For James the difference of man from the world is the fundamental thing. He is not born at home in it, he makes a home of it.
William James and the early Jean-Paul Sartre share strikingly similar similar views on ethics, despite their radically divergent approaches and styles. The strengths and weaknesses of their ethical relativism and/or subjectivism are examined in an attempt to show that these positions are problematic, and tenable only with careful qualifications. This evaluation is a result of a critical, yet constructive assessment of their ethical views. ;Specifically, I question whether Sartre's phenomenological ontology in Being and Nothingness can imply an ethics, and (...) the extent to which his ontological terminology is itself meaningful or useful for developing his ontology, and for accepting his ethics. Sartre's major concepts of freedom, bad faith, consciousness, and relations with the Other are critically evaluated in order to show their ethical implications. I argue that his earlier views are a moral subjectivism, despite the possibility that freedom can be understood as an objective value. Sartre's descriptive ethics as existential psychoanalysis is discussed in such works as Anti-Semite and Jew. ;William James's ethical position is best presented in his essays, primarily "The Moral Philosopher and the Moral Life" and the Principles of Psychology. In that work, his strong empiricism serves as the foundation for his theory of consciousness and ethics, which has a subjectivist-relativist perspective. These views are examined through his positions on the free-will, social-political liberalism, theory of the stream of consciousness, pragmatism, and theory of universals. ;I contend that a meaningful and significant rapproachement can exist between these two philosophers because of their common ethical views and perspectives. This can have implications for future discourse between mainstream analytic philosophers and philosophers sympathetic to phenomenology. (shrink)
This paper examines the relative voluntariness of three types of virtue: ‘epistemic’ virtues like open-mindedness; ‘motivational’ virtues like courage, and more robustly ‘moral’ virtues like justice. A somewhat novel conception of the voluntariness of belief is offered in terms of the limited, but quite real, voluntariness of certain epistemic virtues.
1. As indicated in the Acknowledgments, the sourcebook, The Essential Santayana, is the product of the input of a short list of scholars who, give or take a few names, constitute the “Santayana revival” heralded on the back-cover. Martin A. Coleman has acted as the clearing house for their suggestions, while also writing an Introduction, arranging the readings into five general headings, and providing thumb-nail synopses of each of the readings in each category. While all this is a solid contribution (...) on Coleman’s part, the back-cover contains two questionable if not plainly fallacious “advertisements.” The first is the claim that Santayana, along with William James and Josiah Royce, ranks as “one of the founders .. (shrink)
In 1975 the Clarendon Press at Oxford published Peter Nidditch's edition of John Locke's An Essay concerning Human Understanding. In his Introduction Nidditch says that his edition “offers a text that is directly derived, without modernization, from the early published versions; it notes the provenance of all its adopted readings ; and it aims at recording all relevant differences between these versions”. As Nidditch goes on to acknowledge, the “relevant differences” were many, “requiring several thousand registrations both in the case (...) of material variants and in the case of formal variants ”. The textual history of Locke's Essay is extremely complicated. While there is no manuscript of the first edition of the book, there were four editions in Locke's lifetime, each new one containing extensive and significant revisions, as well as a posthumous edition published shortly after the author's death. There was a translation into French made with Locke's cooperation and published in 1700, and a Latin translation came out a year later. Nevertheless, Nidditch managed to record all the material variants in footnotes to the text, in a way that makes it fairly easy to track the changes that Locke made to successive editions of the book, and to locate points at which judgements had to be made as a critical text was established on the basis of the chosen copy text. Sometimes a critical edition succeeds in completely changing the way that a text is read. Peter Laslett's 1960 edition of Locke's Two Treatises of Government is a good example. Nidditch's edition of the Essay did not have that kind of very dramatic effect on Locke scholarship. Rather, it made it possible for those without direct access to all the early editions to engage in careful, historically sensitive studies of Locke's account of human understanding. The result was a slow revolution in Locke studies that continues to shed new light on even the most familiar aspects of the Lockean philosophy. (shrink)
William James once replied to the critics of the new pragmatic philosophy with the caution not to be too sharp or logic-chopping but to evaluate pragmatism as a whole, and especially weigh it against its possible alternatives. This is fair advice indeed. All too often the opponents of pragmatism have seized upon one of its formulations and, oblivious of its context and surrounding qualifications, have proclaimed the absurdity of the whole enterprise. James himself admitted that some of his (...) expressions were infelicitous and misleading, but he believed that the intelligent and indulgent reader would grasp his meaning and not impute to him doctrines he never held. Indeed, the reader of James soon comes to realize that he cannot stop at any one formulation of pragmatism but must hurry on to the next in order to see it in a broader and fuller context. He is aware, then, that pragmatism in James’s view is not a doctrine or system but a method and spirit of philosophizing, or, as we would say today, a way of doing philosophy. It is this spirit and perspective that must be appreciated if one is to do justice to the pragmatism of William James. (shrink)
This essay contributes to the debate over whether there is, or can be, any place for metaphysics in pragmatism, in William James's pragmatism, in particular. The paper defends the possibility of pragmatist metaphysics, seeking to show how interesting forms of such metaphysics with a grounding in key Jamesian texts can, pragmatically, be put to work. This task is interesting from the perspective of both James scholarship and the ongoing re-evaluation and critical transformation of the pragmatist tradition. Furthermore, we (...) need metaphilosophical discussion of the possibility and prospects of metaphysics in a situation in which many philosophers believe metaphysics to be dead and buried, partly thanks to the classical pragmatists and their followers. Thus, the present paper examines critically the widespread idea that pragmatism is an inherently non- or even antimetaphysical philosophy (a view held not only by radical neopragmatists like Richard Rorty but also by scholars of classical pragmatism such as Charlene Haddock Seigfried). (shrink)
This article responds to the suggestion that C.L.R. James’ discussion of cricket, and particularly his defence of the ‘spirit of the game’, represent an ideological blind-spot on his part. James’ autobiographical account of the cricketing field, it is argued, is comparable to Pierre Bourdieu’s account of the ‘fields’ of culture more generally. In particular, James recognized that what was at stake in the defence of cricketing ethics was a defence of the principle by which the sport was (...) able to operate with a relative autonomy from the forces of political and economic power. It was only in this respect that cricket was able to provide, within contexts such as those of the pre-independence Caribbean, a field on which an expressive critique of those very forces of power was possible. (shrink)
It is testimony to both the incompleteness and suggestiveness of James's philosophy that commentators have argued that the "true" James is consummated in, say, Dewey, or in phenomenology, or Whitehead. Although Ford obviously thinks James's philosophy has a complete identity in its own right, he argues for the Whiteheadian interpretation. He asserts not only that this is the correct interpretation of James, but the correct philosophy simpliciter. The central theses in this argument are that James (...) is both a process philosopher and a panpsychist. (shrink)
James P. Sterba postulates a conflict situation between ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ persons in order to establish the legitimacy of a welfare right superior to unlimited private property rights. Sterba does not recognize the moral options available to the non-poor in his conflict scenario, nor the generally voluntary character of enduring unemployment, or how few people would satisfy his own restrictive criteria for poverty. His definition mischaracterizes the general state of the poor as one of imminent decline when in fact, (...) for most of human history it was one of stasis, and since comparatively free societies emerged, it has been one of general improvement. He fails to grasp that the processes by which others become non-poor in a libertarian society also make most of the poor better off. Consequently, consideration of future generations also turns out to weigh heavily against justification of a welfare right, contrary to Sterba’s claim. (shrink)